Following the release of a report on the legislative business conducted by the Senate, conservative media have tried to cover up Republican obstructionism in order to label the Democratic-controlled Senate as "lazy" and "do-nothing." In fact, Senate Republicans have repeatedly used procedural tricks to block measures that would otherwise have passed the Senate.
Since Glenn Beck announced he would be ending his daily show with Fox News, conservative bloggers have reacted with a mixture of sorrow, skepticism, and, of course, conspiracy theories about why his show is ending.
It's one thing for a conservative blog to fling about the "anti-Semite!" charge will-nill, but it's a bit embarrassing if that blog has blown the exact same dog-whistle.
Today, Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism blog has a post attacking Brave New Foundation over a Shepard Fairey T-shirt design that depicts the Koch brothers as a two-headed octopus:
Big Journalism blogger John Sexton points out that the image of a "world-controlling" octopus has "a long, ugly history in political cartoons going back to the 1930s" before posting this Nazi propaganda poster for comparison:
Now, while the Koch brothers aren't Jewish, Sexton's not wrong that the Fairey image may have been ill-advised, or at least, not carefully considered.
However, his fellow Big Journalism bloggers are guilty of some propping up some pretty ill-advised images and purveyors of extremely similar images themselves.
You really can't make this stuff up. In a recent post on right-wing blog Verum Serum, blogger John Sexton -- who also writes for Andrew Breitbart's "Big" blogs -- keeps the right-wing media's War on Nutrition alive, arguing that because obese people usually die young, and therefore cost the health care system less, Michelle Obama is a failure for campaigning against childhood obesity.
You think I'm exaggerating? Decide for yourself. Here's the post, "Tell Michelle: Fat People Have Lower Lifetime Medical Costs," in its entirety:
Michelle Obama has made it her mission to wipe out childhood obesity. But according to a new study, she may be hurting the success of her husband's signature achievement in office. It turns out heavy people spend less on health care over their lifetime than their svelte counterparts. But here's the catch:
Although effective obesity prevention leads to a decrease in costs of obesity-related diseases, this decrease is offset by cost increases due to diseases unrelated to obesity in life-years gained. Obesity prevention may be an important and cost-effective way of improving public health, but it is not a cure for increasing health expenditures.
Forget the vegetables, kids. Twinkies for everyone. Let's bend that cost curve! [Verum Serum, 12/16/10]
Sexton accurately points out that a study published in the February 2008 issue of the Public Library of Science Medicine concluded that obesity prevention efforts may not necessarily lower total national health care expenditures, because it leads to people living longer. This is an interesting point and certainly seems worth discussing.
But Sexton takes a different approach. "It turns out heavy people spend less on health care over their lifetime than their svelte counterparts," he writes. True, because as you can deduce from the paragraph of the report Sexton quotes, that's because they die younger. This is spelled out even more clearly in another paragraph of that report's summary:
Until age 56 y, annual health expenditure was highest for obese people. At older ages, smokers incurred higher costs. Because of differences in life expectancy, however, lifetime health expenditure was highest among healthy-living people and lowest for smokers. Obese individuals held an intermediate position. Alternative values of epidemiologic parameters and cost definitions did not alter these conclusions. [PLoS Medicine, February 2008, emphasis added]
So, yes, according to this study, healthy people spend more on their health over their lifetimes, because they live longer. To quote Rep. Alan Grayson, Sexton's health care plan for America, based on his post, actually does seem to be "die quickly."